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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold2/July-Dec1899/30
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date18 September 1899
Address FromKarree Kloof, Kran Kuil, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other VersionsRive 1987: 379-80
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to Manuscripts and Archives, University of Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscripts and Archives Collections. The name of the addressee is indicated by salutation and content.
1 Karree Kloof
2 Kran Kuil
3 Sep 18 / 99
5 Dear Friend
7 I wonder if you will think my cable to England too strong. But the
8time has come when it is necessary to show the people of England what
9a great crime they are committing.
11 If we do not return to Johannesburg I am not yet sure where we shall go.
13 Good bye, I’ll write you If we do leave & where we go.
14 Olive
16 If war comes & we can’t return to Johannesburg we may go down to
17Cape Town to my brother Will’s in November.
19 Can’t you come then, or will it be too near the end of your term.
20Have you decided about your school. I am beginning to feel so hopeful
21about getting my book read I have typewritten one article since I was
22here & need only another to finish the book. I ought to get a couple
23of thousand pounds for it if I were at home to arrange myself as it is
24shall get five or six hundred. If only I can gets another quiet month
25I shall finish it, & then if I can revise my big book ^novel^ next year,
26I shall get several thousands for it, & be able to buy a farm & escape
27from Johannesburg to a country life. Every thing seems possible when I
28feel strong & get a little sleep.
The book referred to could be one of two projects Schreiner was working on at this time. It could be a reference to her ‘A Returned South African’ essays, originally published in a range of magazines, with this first one published in the Fortnightly; she intended to rework them in book form, as Stray Thoughts on South Africa. A dispute with a publisher and then the outbreak of the South African War (1899-1902) prevented this, and they were in the event with some additional essays published posthumously as Thoughts on South Africa. However, it could also refer to the 'articles on the woman question' published in the US as two essays on 'Woman'; these were conceived as part of a major theoretical work Schreiner intended to published, but the manuscript of this was destroyed when her Johannesburg house was badly damaged and burned by marauding troops during the South African War; these two articles eventually became Woman and Labour. Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.